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tv   9 11 Anniversary Coverage  MSNBC  September 12, 2011 3:00am-4:00am EDT

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45 minutes earlier. >> just had to report that american 11 is still on the air and is heading towards washington. >> american 11 is still in the air? >> yes. it there was another aircraft that hit the tower, that's the latest report we have. i assume he is some sm where over new jersey somewhere further south. >> okay. american 11 isn't a hijack at all? >> yes, he is a hijack. >> american 11 is a hijack? >> yes. a third aircraft. >> tape after tape played for the commission showed that communication between the faa, its air traffic control centers and the military was a mess. >> the commission who took this call from the faa immediately passed the word to the mission troop commander. he in turn recorded to the battle commander. >> okay. american airlines is still airborne, 11, the first guy, he is leading towards washington. okay? i think we need to scramble langley right now and i'm going
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take the fighters from and otis and try to take this day down if we can. >> okay, scramble langley, head them towards the washington area, unquote. >> fighter jets took off from langley air force base in virginia. but due to miscommunications and lack of specific target information, they flew in the wrong direction. >> other than going toward washington, they flew east over the atlantic ocean. >> at 9:27 a.m., 24 minutes after the world knew america was under attack, pilot jason dahl on flight 93 received the first hijacking in the the morning from his airline. less than a minute later, hijackers were inside his cockpit? >> boston center, asked command center to issue a nationwide cockpit security alert.
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>> but such an alert was not issued and a quarter of an our later the cockpit in united 93 was breached. can you explain that decision? can any of you explain that position? >> mr. white was the senior person at the command center. he might be able to answer that. >> i wasn't aware of that request. there is the first i've heard of it today. i wasn't in a position to have heard that request. i have always been under the assumption that we did issue a verbal warning to the air carriers about cockpit security. i don't know if we -- if we even made a decision or if there was ever a determination made why we shouldn't send an advisory out. >> after hijackers took over flight 93, controllers heard screams and sounds of struggle over the radio. this is followed by a second radio transmission with sounds
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of screaming and someone yelling, quote, get out of here, get out of here, end quote. 10 minutes later there was a third radio transmission from flight 93. >> is this the captain would like to you call. there is a bomb on board and are going back to the airport. >> they respond yoet 93, i understand have you a bomb on board. go ahead. >> united 93, still at the center. >> united 93, you are still hear cleveland? united 93, do you hear cleveland. >> while flight 39 flew on without radio contact, flight 77 with hijackers at the helm closed in on washington, d.c. >> several of the controllers quote observed a primary radar target at a high rate of speed, end quote and notified reagan airport. both airports notified secret service.
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>> at the white house, the secret service rushed the vice president to the president's emergency operations center, the peop beneath the building. >> just a million things going on at once. like a bee hive of activity. >> meanwhile, american flight 77 was heading in the direction of the wlous. white house. suddenly it made a 330 degree right turn and began a rapid decent toward the pentagon. >> at 9:37 a.m., american flight 77 crashed into the pentagon. >> we're looking at live
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pictures of the pentagon where there is billowing smoke, we are hearing again unconfirmed reports that this is the result after plane crashing. >> that was by 15 wsh 20 yards from the point of impact. >> there's no way to describe for you the panic that just grips your heart. i was tossed around like a rag doll. i'm on fire, burning, and the word terror is correct. >> at the same time in new york, stanley praimath remained trapped in tower two.
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>> i saw something flashing around their head. >> and all of a sudden coming out after hole, if you like, in a wall, wide-eyed and very animated waving his hand was a stranger. >> but a collapsed wall of street rock separated the two men. >> i reached down and somehow got under his arm or around his neck and he pulled with such force i just flew over on the other side. flew over and i knocked this man over. i landed on top of him. ai and i reach down and i grab this man. i hug him and said yb look, you're my guardian angel and i give this man a kiss.
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>> this stranger gave me this big kiss and i said, i'm brian. and you know, i'm stanley, he said. and that's how stanley and i met. >> this man put his hand lovingly around my shoulder and said, come on, buddy, let's go home. >> as brian and stanley searched for an escape route, hundreds of others were still trapped above the fire in the twin towers. >> my first question to chief gantsy was, can we get helicopters up to the roof and help any of those people. and pete pointed to a big flame shooting out of the north tower at the time. and he said to me, my guys can save everybody below the fire. but i can't put a helicopters above the fire. >> but with no other way to go, many people headed up.
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>> people thought they could go to the roof because people went to the roof in 1939. >> civilians were not told rooftop evacuation was not part of the port authority evacuation plan. >> when they got to the roof, the doors were locked. >> they were not informed that access to the roof required a key. the port authority acknowledged it had no protocol for rescuing people trapped above a fire in the towers. >> on the streets, people were leaving the areas as fast as they could. >> i saw people running. i saw people fleeing. which is exactly what we wanted them to do. we wanted to get them out of the area. >> on that day, that brooklyn bridge, that separated brooklyn from manhattan, that was the bridge that really came to separate heaven from hell.
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it was now 9:40 a.m. with the twin towers and pentagon in flames, the presidential motor cade was rushing to a sarasota airport. >> the vice president was in contact with the president. >> the president toll the vice president, quote, sounds like we have a minor war going on here. i heard about the pentagon. we're at war. somebody's going to pay, closed quote. >> by the time air force 1 took off, hijackers had been flying united flight 93 for nearly 30 minutes. >> at 9:46 and again two minutes later command center updated faa head quarters that united 93 was now quote 29 minutes out of washington, d.c., end quote.
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>> by 9:49 a.m., the faa had known for more than 15 minutes that united 93 was a possible hijack. three passenger jets had already crashed into american landmarks. still, no one at the faa requested military assistance for flight 93. >> they know the pentagon and towers were struck and they don't tell military command there is fourth plane in the air and turned around and headed toward washington? that's just incomprehensionible. >> do we want to think about scrambling aircraft? >> oh, god, i don't know. >> that's a decision somebody has it make probably within the next ten minutes. >> you know, everybody just left the room. >> they just dithered. for minutes. precious minutes. just not wanting it pick up the phone when they knew we were under a terrorist attack. >> when you listen to, the faa tapes, it's just incredible. that these people are so incompetence tent in their jobs.
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>> it was just -- it was bone-chilling to listen to that recording. >> as the faa attempted to coordinate the crisis in the air, flight 93 had reversed its westerly coarse. it was now headed toward washington. for six her yog minutes the passengers of flight 93 battled their hijacks for control of the plane. at 10:03 a.m., it was all over. united flight 39 crashed in a field in shanksville, pennsylvania. >> okay, there is now on the united 93 -- >> yes. >> there is a report of black smoke in the last position i gave you, 15 miles south of johnstown. >> from the airplane or from the ground? >> they are speculating it's from the aircraft. it hit the ground.
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that's what they are speculating. and speculation only. >> i also want to give you heads up, washington. >> go ahead. >> united 93 wsh do have you information on that yet? >> yeah, he's down. >> he's down? >> yes. >> when did he land? >> he did not land. >> oh, he's down? >> yes. >> somewhere northeast of camp david. >> no one from faa headquarters requested military assistant for 93 nor did any managers pass any of the information it had about united 93 to the military. >> thank god the passengers of 93 took the plane over. the plane was heading to washington, d.c. faa headquarters knew it and didn't let the military flow. >> there was only one set of fighters orbiting, the langley 16s. but the langley pilots were never briefed about the reason
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tle were scrambled. as lead pilot explained, no one told us anything. >> we are sure that the nation owees a debt to the passengers of united 93. their actions saved the lives of countless others. >> at the end of the day, the question remained, could any of these flights have been intercepted by the military before they crashed? >> would it have been physically possible, if everything had gone right in terms of communication, and of information, and communication of words, for the military pilots to have shot down either the plane that hit the first world trade tower, the plane that hit the second world to trade tower or the plane that hit the pentagon? >> you assume that faa told us as soon as they knew. >> right. >> and if that is the case, yes, we could shoot down the airplane. >> all right, thank you, general. combines odor protection with a beautiful lavender scent. amazing microcapsules absorb odor and release
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are already describing as a highly sophisticated coordinate aid tack. >> as the government struggled to respond to the sudden attacks, terrorism experts quickly identified bin laden as the perpetrator. >> i knew really it was bin laden when the first plane hit. >> who else had the motive and who else had the ability? >> jihad. jihad! >> by september 11th, 2001, al qaeda had been attacking american interests for almost ten years. >> first, they were suspected of hitting the world trade center in 1993. >> we heard the explosion, the building rattled, the whole thing shifted. >> it was shocking when the world trade center was hit. and it was really a tragedy. but i don't think many people recognized that there were worst things to come.
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>> five years later, bin laden's operatives bombed two american embassies in africa killing more than 200 and injuring 5,000. >> president clinton and i have said, we will not rest until we find some solution for this terrorist problem. our memory is long and our reach is far. >> after the embassy bombings, the clinton white house launched missile attacks at al qaeda camps. but bin laden survived. the clinton administration had other chances to kill bin laden. one was in 1999.
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>> osama bin laden was visiting a camp in the southern part of afghanistan, in kandahar province. a desert camp where there were princess from the united arab rem rats and it was an excellent clans. we knew what he was going to be there and it was a very isolated area. there with a wo be no class ral damage to civilians. >> but the commission learned that foreign policy concerns complicated matters. >> according to cia officials, policy makers were concerned about the danger that a strike might kill and emerate prince or other senior officials with bin laden or close by. >> i called the director of cia and said i had been presented with satellite photography of the facility and it was very
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clear to me, that this -- like something other than a terrorist camp. it looked like a luxury hunting trip. and i asked him to look into it. personally. >> the national security council instead decided to call the government of the united arab emirates and tell them that we knew bin laden was in the desert and we knew they were hunting and maybe it would be a good idea that they didn't hang around. >> the decision ultimately was george tenet's and george tenet recommended that no action be taken. >> the next time the satellite went overhead, all that was left of the camp was a pile of burning garbage. i found it very upsetting that on the most selfish level, that the choice was not to protect my children but to save the head of this arab hunting camp whose
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family was about to die some number of billions of u.s. fighter aircraft. >> then bin laden struck again. >> in 2000, al qaeda terrorists used a small boat to bomb the uss cole refuelling in yemen. 17 american sailors died. >> smart people working counterterrorism cases knew early on there was no doubt about it, that it was an al qaeda operation driven by bin laden. >> there wasn't an up roar. essentially the decision was made to put up it up with the next administration. >> it was a priority. he hadn't killed enough americans. >> doing absolutely nothing on the iss coal was also a response that people took note of. >> that must have really made al qaeda feel empowered.
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>> by the time of the cole bombing, bin laden 9/11 plot was well underway. >> hijackers were settling down in america and learning it fly airplanes. >> they lived in houses, in motel 6s. >> mindi who lost her husband in the world trade center, presented evidence to the commission that revealed serious immigration violations. >> i'm holding in the hand some of the applications of the terrorists who killed my husband. all of these forms are incomplete and incorrect.
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had the ins or the state department followed the law, at least 15 of the hijackers would have been denied visas and would not have been in the united states on september 11th, 2001. >> while the hijackers made their preparations for the 9/11 attacks, the white house changed hands. once in office, president bush decided not to immediately respond to the cole bombing. instead the commission learned he ordered the development after long-range plan to eliminate bin laden. >> the whole truth? >> i do. thank you very much, secretary powell. mr. chairman, president bush and all of us on his team knew that tris woem be a major concern for us. he wanted a thorough comprehensive diplomatic military intelligence law enforcement and financial strategy to go after al qaeda. >> he made clear us to that he did not want to respond to al qaeda one attack at a time. he told me, he was tired of swatting flies.
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the president says, i have no hesitancy about going after him but i didn't feel that sense of urgency and my blood was not nearly as boiling. >> every morning that summer, bush received a a president's daily brief or pdb. outlining security threats to the united states. >> isn't it a fact, dr. rice, that the august 6 pdb warned against possible attacks in this country? and i ask you, whether you recall the title that pdb? >> i believe the title was bin laden determined to attack inside the united states. now, the -- >> thank pb. >> the pdb. >> no -- i would like it finish my point here. >> i didn't know there was a point.
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>> you asked me whether or not it warned of attacks. >> i asked you what the title was. >> you said, did it not warn of takes? it did not warn of takes inside the united states. it was historical information. based on old reporting. there was no new threat information. and it did not in fact warn of any coming attacks inside the united states. >> ultimately, nobody in the government was able to stop bin laden's plot.
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>> by 9:30 a.m., thousands of people at the world trade center were fighting for their lives. brian clark and stanley praimnath were descending tower two from the 81st floor. on the 31st floor, they found a conference room with working phones. but it didn't do much good. >> brian picked up the phone and he is frantically dialling 911. >> she said hold on a moment. you have to tell my supervisor. click. so i was on hold. >> i must have waited 30 seconds before somebody else, i don't know if it was was a supervisor came on, i told them the story as well and a second person said, just a minute. i have to get someone -- click, i'm on hold again.
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>> there was whole failure of the 911 emergency system. people were told, hold on. people were told to call back. people were told, stay where you are. when that was the worst thing to do. on that day, the entire system collapsed. >> 911 operators were in the dark about the magnitude of the disaster. they were unable to pass along useful information to panicked calleders. >> i would have to say, 911 was overwhelmed. and should it have been larger, should it have been anticipated? yes, it probably should have. but it wasn't. >> to make matters worse, the police department, the port authority, and the fire department couldn't share information. >> the radios, we didn't have a
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channel we could communicate with a police department on. >> the way in which the fire department and the police department communicate is different because generally they have different missions. the best answer is that they should have radios that are interoperable so that in an emergency both of them could be switched on to the same channel. >> those radios do not exist today. >> so when the police department, helicopters surveyed the situation, the fire department didn't get that information. >> the chiefs in the north tower were forced it make decisions based on little or no information. >> one of the most critical things in a major operation like this is to have information. we didn't receive any reports of what was seen from the helicopters. it was impossible to know how much damage was done on the upper floors. whether the stair wells were in
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tact or not. >> people watching on tv had more knowledge of what was happening a hundred floors above us than we did in the lobby. >> by now, brian clark and stanley praimnath made it to the ground floor of tower two. >> the only people we saw were the firefighters, cops and ems workers. >> two men were told to get away from the building as fast as they could. >> stanley stopped and he looked back at two world trade center. >> i looked at brian and i said, this building is going down now. >> huge explosion. >> the whole building collapsed. the whole building collapsed. >> the whole event only took ten
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seconds but it just seems to expand in your mind when you're seeing it. it was the tower that we had just exited and where our company was, up on the 84th floor.
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>> i heard on the radio, something i'll never forget, and the transmission said, tower two
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is down all units evacuate tower one. i couldn't believe it. what do you mean tower two is down? i mean, it's the world trade center. >> the first tower to be hit was still standing. port authority cop david lim was helping evacuees on the 35th floor. >> and now the people i was with were very upset, of course. i just told mem we had to keep going. and we started heading down again. >> at 10:08 a.m., an nypd helicopters pilot reported that tower one wouldn't last month much longer. >> i got down to the fifth floor, well one more flight down, was as far as we got. and the building started coming down.
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it was like a rushing locomotive, or an avalanche. i got my final thoughts were about my family. i thought about my wife. my kids. excuse me. i hoped they would think well of me. for what i did. i was very fortunate. when the debris stopped falling.
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>> just take your time. take your time. >> first i thought, i had died. i heard nothing. i saw nothing. but then i heard a voice. the choice was "who's here"? he couldn't see each other. it was totally black. we were alive. we were virtually standing on top of what was left of the world trade center. when i say that, you have to picture a straw and a pancake. we were in that straw.
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>> david lim and handful of others were standing inside a lone stair well that had somehow with stood the collapse. >> eventually, i remember ladder company 43 come around the corner bp. i never thought i would be so happy to see firemen, you know. and they came and they threw us ropes. >> as david lim was treated for his wounds, lee alpei arrived at the world trade center to search for his missing son, jonathan pz we walked down the street and many of the people who were still just moving away from it. walking, bleeding and walking up the street. and i just had a sinking feeling that we might have a problem trying to find jonathan. >> stanley and i talked to for 45 minutes finding out about each other's families and so on.
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he gave me his personal business card. i put the card in my shirt pocket. >> he jumped into camp. >> and this feeling came over me that, stanley doesn't exist. he was a guardian angel sent to get me. and then i remembered the business card and i reached into my pocket and i reached out a business card and of course there was a stanley. or there is a stanley. and it would have been a marvelous story if there was no business card in there. but i knew stanley was real and
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for locations, see thank you... >> do you swear or affirm to tell truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? >> i do. >> thank you very much, sir. >> mr. secretary -- >> as the hearings went on in early 2004, the families learned more about what happened on september 11th. but they also grew frustrated with the lack of cooperation by many witnesses. >> a lot of the hearings, we heard people that had clearly done their own investigation within their agencies. and then when they were asked a specific question, said they would have to get back to the commission. >> i will have to get back to you on that.
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>> i would like to double-check it before i say it here. >> that occurred before i began my tenure, what i know about it is after the fact. >> they were not willing to publicly disclose anything that might hold them accountable. >> you just cannot have a mass murder like this that the government wasn't able to stop, without having someone held accountable. >> but instead we got speeches about how we are perfect, we did everything right. nothing could have done better. >> our anger should clearly be directed and the blame directed at one source and one source aloning with the terrorists who killed our loved ones. >> that just intensified our anger and drove us on to try harder to get answerers. >> more than anything else, the families wanted accountability from their government. >> call the hearing back to order. >> then as the hearings neared their conclusion they got it.
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>> sadly from only one man. the man who had been in charge of counterterrorism in both the clinton and bush administrations. >> i welcome these hearings because it is finally a forum where i can apologize to the loved ones of the victims of 9/11. to them who are here in the room, tho those who are watching on television, your government failed you. those entrusted with protecting you failed you. and i failed you. we tried hard but that doesn't matter because we failed. and for that failure, i would ask once all the facts are out, for your understanding and for your forgiveness. >> it was the first acknowledgement that our government had failed. that was what made the apology important to me.
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>> i was struck by his apology, not because he was apologizing, but because that was the first time i had ever heard anyone apologize or take responsibility for what happened. >> someone had finally just admitted that they made a mistake and said they were sorry. you know, we hadn't heard that before.
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nearly three years after the
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attacks, the commission the families fought so hard for released its final report on the events of september 11th. >> today we present this report and these recommendations to the president of the united states, to the united states congress, and the american people. >> the commission made a number of recommendations, including tightening u.s. borders. increasing preparedness before the next attack. sharing information among agencies. appointing a national intelligence director. and creating a national counterterrorism center. >> anyone who said that commission was not going to come up with anything new under the sun, was just one of the things the white house told us, was wrong. because clearly they did. clearly we didn't have a director of national intelligence and we wouldn't
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have had a director of national intelligence if it wasn't for the commission. >> on that september day, we were unprepared. we did not grasp the magnitude after threat that had been gathering over a considerable period of time. as we detail in our report, this was a failure of policy, management, capability, and above all, a failure of imagination. >> about 9/11, we blew it, this government blew it, and there wasn't just one administration at fault. >> i had seen some of these wonderful, wonderful surviving family members take on the administration and take on the congress and they won. >> i think they changed the course of history. >> the small group of family members that pushed for the
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commission to be established and pushed for the 9/11 recommendations to be legislated are now going to push for these reforms to be implemented. >> it is the most important thing that i can do for my wife's memory. is to make sure that she didn't die in vain. >> we close most importantly by thanking the families who lost loved ones on 9/11. you demanded the creation of this commission. you've encouraged us every step of the way. as partners and as witnesses. from your grief you have drawn strength.
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>> among the casualties on 9/11, 60 were police officers and 343 were firefighters. >> so this day, i have no information about what happened to my son and the entire engine company that was lost with him. i continue to seek to find out what really happened to my son on 9/11. >> we lost our son, we lost our daughter in law, and this little 2 1/2-year-old angel. that's a lot of loss. >> she contributed something wonderful to the world.
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she contributed something wonderful because that's what she was like. >> when brad died, my husband and i lost a son and our dreams for his future, a wedding, daughter in law and grandchildren. >> before i have a different marriage now before 9/11. i'm a different person now and it's not temporary it doesn't go away with a band-aid. you live with it the rest of your life. >> it was about 11:30 at night. we got a phone call. lee, we have your son over on the side was a stokes basket and my son was in it. he was covered with an american flag. and i went over to my son. i knelt down. i spoke to him. i still today feel him from head to toe to satisfy my own
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curiosity. then with the help of my son, brendan, and some of the men from squad 288, we picked up my son and we carried him up the hill. >> because of the country we live in, forgetting sometimes is easy. we become so complacent. >> i speak for thousands of people and people say to me, well, what should we say do? i say to them very nicely, i say, i'm not going to pick on you. but how many you've after hearing about the 9/11 commission and those results and that government wasn't going to maybe act on it, how many of you, and raise your hand, called your senator, senators, your
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congressmen in your states and demanded that they act on it. raise their hands. well, you know what the results were? i was lucky if i got one or two. complacency. so what can we do as a country? don't say to yourselves, well that's an issue that happened in new york city. it didn't happen in new york city. it happened in the united states of america. it happened on our soil.


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